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Growing Up Geek: Darren Murph

Welcome to Growing Up Geek, a new feature where we take a look back at our youth, and tell stories of growing up to be the nerds that we are. This week, we have our very own Managing Editor, Darren Murph, who has the distinction of having written more posts on Engadget than any other Editor (and anyone in the world).

I'd probably consider myself a mishmash of two things: a hopeless geek, and a travel junkie. Funny enough, one single experience really forced me into wearing both of those hats. But that one instance where a bag phone saved my family's trip to Germany before the euro was The Euro wasn't where it all started. In fact, it's a little crazy that I actually grew up geek. Neither of my parents were privileged enough to have access to any sort of gadgetry growing up, so I most certainly didn't get the urge to tinker with Nintendo consoles from them. But they both ended up owning a mechanic shop, and my father was the king of the local drag strip thanks to his uncanny ability to tweak and mod his stable of hand-me-down Mustangs.

Those modder genes that obviously run in my family ended up leading to far nerdier things. One of the first Christmas gifts I can remember asking for (and thankfully, receiving) was a Nintendo Entertainment System. After that, I was hooked. I was an only child, so rather than goofing off with siblings during those long, hot, wonderful North Carolina summers, I got my kicks by throwing down on R.B.I. Baseball with whatever neighborhood kids wanted to swing by and get abused.

It didn't take long to grow fascinated with computers after that, and once I realized that I couldn't live another year without a 56k modem in my life, I simply asked for "The Internet" from ole Santa. Sure enough, I got it. From there, I poured all of my lawn mowing cash into getting a decent PC (a lowly Dell mid-tower with a Pentium II, for those curious), and I did the best I could to hang with the pro Counter-Strike snipers with triple-digit ping times. At that point, I was mature enough to realize I was fascinated with this stuff, and I even wrote "video game reviewer" as my dream job during a "meet your classmates" activity at the beginning of 8th grade. Turns out I just about landed it.

I owe most of the credit to my folks. Instead of forcing me to put down the screwdriver get my head out of the beige Dell chassis in the house, they encouraged me to keep at it. They agreed that computer science would be an awesome major for me in college, and they never once told me to get a life. Turns out me and math never did get along, so I skipped the CS 101 and went straight to business school. Go Wolfpack! Ah, but I digress. I ended up taking a vanilla supply chain job out of college while I wrote for this here publication during my other waking hours. I also snuck in countless night classes to get an MBA, and when one thing led to another, I decided to make this my career. Covering live events is definitely one of the highlights (I mean, who wouldn't want to shoot an episode of The Engadget Show at ESPN or eat at the Windows 7 restaurant in Taipei?), but being that I'm hopelessly infatuated with everything we cover, every little aspect of this job makes it all worthwhile.

Oh, and I guess I still owe you an explanation on that bag phone ordeal. My mother scored an absolutely gigantic carphone in the mid-nineties, and for all intents and purposes, that was her first gadget. It cost like $8.00 a minute to use, which means it never got used; but when our car broke down on the way to catch a flight to see my cousin -- who was stationed in Germany as a member of the US Air Force -- that relic managed to put us in touch with a nearby relative who drove us the rest of the way. That trip remains one of the greatest I've ever been on, and it obviously demonstrates the sheer power of technology and mobile communications in particular.

Even now, I'm pretty much the only true geek in my family, which means I'm also the family's Geek Squad. Not that I really take issue with it, though, and it's pretty obvious that my obsession with gadgets has rubbed off on my photographing wife. Though, I'm still debating whether or not to give my first born a cellphone before the age of 15... particularly if said child is a beautiful, innocent female.

Darren once wrote 59 Engadget posts in a single 24 hour period, has driven a motorized vehicle in all 50 US States, and he outright refuses to pay for parking. He also holds the Guinness World Record for being the most prolific professional blogger on planet Earth. You can contact him on Twitter at @darrenmurph, and you can press your luck by following his wife at @danajophotos.